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Lot 328

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Leon Trotsky Letter Signed -- "…Do you actually believe that I wanted to provoke…the [Communist party] split?…as long as his power is not threatened he approves of everything in China…"

Fantastic and scarce letter signed by Leon Trotsky, May 23, 1931 from Kadikoy, Turkey, where Trotsky was exiled by Joseph Stalin, struggling not only to stay relevant but also to stay alive.   Two page letter measures 8.5" x 13.25". Folds and some chipping to top; overall in very good condition, with exceptional content regarding the pre-WWII divisions in the Communist party.

Trotsky writes to his close friend and comrade, Max Shactman on a host of subjects, most notably the factions developing within the Communist party after its takeover by Stalin. Signed "L. Trotsky" and written in German with an English translation, the densely written letter of some 95 typed lines reads in part, "…I am now really, as you can imagine, swamped with work and can hardly imagine how I could write you the requested preface for the China book…Did you deliberately ignore the bigger article from the Russian Bulletin No. 15/16, pages 7-19 'Stalin and the Chinese Revolution'…I also do not find in your index my last article 'The Strangled Revolution'…We are very glad with Comrade [Jan] Frankel that you came at least half way out of your reserve towards [Kurt] Landau. Your explanation, allow me to say, seems not to be too convincing. You write that you wanted to avoid a premature split. Do you actually believe that I wanted to provoke or expedite this split?…I for my part have done everything that seemed possible and appropriate. It appeared to me, by the way, that if the leading comrades of the national sections had put strong pressure on Landau at the right time he could have perhaps - I repeat perhaps - been saved. Unfortunately, this is no longer the case and you carry some of the responsibility. The lion's share of the fault, after Landau, lies with [Pierre] Naville, who fed Landau false hopes, delivered confusing information to him, etc. Now Landau wanted to hear nothing more about the International Bureau and is busy creating his own International…There is more: since he did everything possible to shake up the agreement in Austria and to break it in Germany, he accuses me of splitting up all national sections, especially in America. So, my dear Shactman, you see that I am being blamed for the fact that you and [Albert] Weissbord are not on good terms…Naville, however, plays with ideas and is never earnest or honest…What can one say about the warning that if one changes one's 'course' seven times in the interest of self preservation of the Clique and is not afraid to use the dirtiest methods?…Landau's themes of tomorrow are crucial, but the fact that as long as his power is not threatened he approves of everything in China, also in America and all the other countries…" Trotsky then discusses copyright fees, "Since on the one hand I have been cheated…I do need the money very urgently now", as well as "comments in the local press and if they are interesting I would like to know about them". He closes with stating "how pleased I am about the prospect of the change of the 'Militant' to a weekly paper. The next step must be a theoretical monthly paper…" Soon after this letter was written, Trotsky would move to France where he was given asylum. He was then transferred to Norway where he lived under increasing confinement, until his move to Mexico, where he was murdered by Stalin's proxies in 1940.

This item comes with a Certificate from John Reznikoff, a premier authenticator for both major 3rd party authentication services, PSA and JSA (James Spence Authentications), as well as numerous auction houses.


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